After a lengthy hiring process, New Baltimore has named a new parks and recreation director.
Brian Kay, who hails as Fraser's parks and recreation director with undergraduate and graduate degrees, is scheduled to start in early March, New Baltimore Mayor Larry Smith said Monday.
Kay will make slightly more than $50,000 annually in that role, Smith said.
"He's got every qualification in the world," he said. "I'm just going to give him a free hand and let him run."
Kay beat out 60 other applicants in the process to replace New Baltimore Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hoffard, who retired at the end of 2011. The city handed over hiring duties to recreation professionals from across the state through the Michigan Recreation and Park Association.
"It was just too much of a controversial subject," Smith said of farming out the responsibilities.
City officials have been torn about the recreation department, including how to improve services and what kind of leadership the director would take.
Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Carlos Aprea . The mayor said Monday the new hire does not change Aprea's role in the department.
"He's still got a job with us," Smith said.
Aprea, who brought the department programs online and offered new programs in his role, said "I gave it all I had; I tried to change things for the better. I plan on supporting him (Kay) with as much support I got from the recreation commission and council."
"I guess my biggest thing is: I never got an interview," he said. "I think it would be at least a courtesy for someone who's been doing the job for several months."
He said he will pass along many of his ideas, such as a waterfront dog park and kayak rentals, to Kay in hopes of continuing to improve city recreation services.